Aug 18, 2022

Consultation on new quality standard for Welsh social homes

In May the Welsh government launched a consultation on its draft Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) 2023 to replace the existing standard, introduced in 2002. The proposals include new requirements for consideration of biodiversity and water poverty as well as substantially increased energy efficiency requirements.

The replacement standards require that homes must be affordable to heat and carbon emissions be minimised; and the measures are that a minimum rating of SAP 92 (EPC A) and EIR 92 must be achieved. Installation of measures to achieve this must be implemented where physically practicable and if currently cost prohibitive then they must be planned and included in a future programme of works.

It is the whole of a landlord’s stock that must be net-zero and therefore homes with a lower energy efficiency could be balanced by other more efficient homes or by Community Carbon Benefits across their assets (such as using amenity land within housing schemes for renewable energy or PVs on community buildings).

Landlords would have to carry out a Whole Stock Assessment and produce a plan to optimise energy efficiency for every home that is not already EPC A. Step 1 of this plan should target a high SAP C rating for fabric measures so that the Heat Loss Parameter is sufficiently low to ensure that low carbon heat sources (particularly heat pumps) can be operated efficiently and effectively.

Water efficiency would have to be improved to reduce potential consumption to less than 110 litres per person per day. Landlords who manage verges, parks and grounds would have to make their approach more wildlife friendly, for example by planting pollinator-friendly plants, trees and flowers from native stock.

We welcome these ambitious proposals, and the methodology compliments the approaches which here at SHIFT we regularly advise for our social landlord clients. Achieving all of this will require thorough commitment by both landlords and government and of course sufficient funding should be in place to help landlords transition smoothly, particularly at a time of skills shortages and high costs.

If you would like a complete environmental assessment (carbon, water, biodiversity) of all your buildings, please get in touch with us at [email protected].


Image by Trayan on Unsplash


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